Despite the fact that Australians were involved in the beta, Star Wars: The Old Republic still doesn't have a local release date. This encouraged many Australians to import the game. To help everyone get online with the game day one, EA and Bioware initially promised a 'Grace Period' for those who pre-ordered, meaning that players could get started without the need for their Game Code. Now that promise appears to have been taken back. And people are angry.
It's a confusing situation. Bioware's initial solution was this: every consumer who had pre-ordered a copy of the game would have early access to the game client, meaning they could download the game before it was launched. There would also be a 'grace period' that would allow those who had pre-ordered The Old Republic to play day one, meaning they wouldn't have to wait until the physical copy arrived to play.
Now that promise has been revoked.
The 'grace period' was referred to when Bioware first announced Star Wars: The Old Republic wouldn't be region locked.
I’d like to recap on a few other key questions and answers: - There are no plans to ‘region lock’ or ‘IP block’ players from the game. You may experience some latency issues if you’re not playing in a launch territory. - Anyone who pre-orders The Old Republic and redeems their pre-order code will be eligible for Early Game Access. - Those eligible for Early Game Access will be able to download the game client before it starts. - There will be a period after launch day in which those who have pre-ordered will be able to continue playing before entering their Game Code. More information on this will be made available closer to launch. - We will accept credit card payments for subscriptions.
These seem to be the key questions for those who choose to potentially import the game, and hopefully we’ve answered those.
We understand many of you are also interested to know the timeframe for release of The Old Republic outside of the initial launch countries, but unfortunately we cannot give you a definitive timeframe right now. As we get closer to our initial launch, hopefully that will change and we’ll be able to give you more details.
Now that we're a week away from the game's official launch, there has been no information on this grace period — quite the opposite. Now the pre-order FAQ page states that "[t]here will be no 'grace period' post launch".
But bizarrely, Bioware's automated Customer Service emails are still claiming a grace period does exist.
I am Protocol Droid N0-L9 Human-Cyborg relations.
I have received your question about the length of the Grace Period for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
A Grace Period is a specified amount of time post-launch where players who have pre-ordered can continue to play without having entered their retail product code.
It is common practice for MMOs to allow for a Grace Period, and Star Wars: The Old Republic will be no different in that respect.
When the game is released, you will have a five day post-launch grace period to purchase a full copy of the game and redeem your Game Code if you wish to continue playing the game without interruption.
Should you need further assistance with this matter, please do not hesitate to let me know. Galactic support is our specialty...
Protocol Droid N0-L9 (aka Jigno) Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service
Despite the fact that Bioware's own Customer Service is claiming the grace period still exists, the official line from Bioware itself is that there will be no grace perio — but the reasons why the message is so confused is unclear, as is the reason why Bioware would initially promise this feature then change its mind closer to launch. Especially since this feature encouraged so many Australian consumers to commit to pre-orders initially.
But this isn't just relevant to Australian consumers — the game is onsale in Europe today, December 13, ahead of the game's actual launch, which means that while European players will be able to play early through Bioware's early access scheme, others will have to wait for a good time after the game's initial launch to play. Most Australians who have pre-order box copies of the game will be a good month late to the party. For those that wanted to be involved in the game from day one, exponentially more important for MMO releases, this is a massive disappointment.
We are in the process of contacting EA locally to see if we can get an official response to the issue. The closest thing so far is this response from Stephen Reid, Community Manager for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
There will be no ‘grace period’ post launch in which those who are in Early Game Access will be able to continue to play the game. In order to continue playing past the Early Game Access period, you will need to enter a valid launch game code and payment method. Please read our FAQ for more information. We apologize for any previous messaging which may have led you to believe otherwise.
We'll update this story with more information as we get it.
Thanks to Paul McDermott.